Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • Recent painting odds and ends

    Posted By on October 9, 2017

    Pulp Figures Woodland Indians

    Over the past week and a half, I have had lots going on, so I have been painting small projects that I could knock out quickly.  Here are pictures I took this evening of things I have finished recently.

    Pulp Figures Volcano Queen set

    Colonel Klink, Colonel Hogan, and Sergeant Schultz from http://stoessisheroes.com/meet-the-heroes-hogan-klink-schultz/

    Female Adventuress / Pilot (I think from Pulp Figures)

    Crooked Dice female minions for 70s spy type games

    It was kind of fun to do some figures in a uniform again.  This made the painting much faster than when every figure is an individual.  Of course, you have to like the figures on these figures.  :)



    HAWKs Invitational Gaming Day

    Posted By on October 8, 2017

    When we needed to change the date of Barrage, Cliff Brunken and several of gamers in New Jersey who run NJ Con: Fire in the East suggested that we might host a smaller gaming day.  After discussions among the HAWKs we decided this was a good idea.  As this was meant to be a low-key event, we wanted to keep down costs.  We normally game at   Grove Presbyterian church for our Friday club nights.  As their church hall was available last weekend and there was no charge, we planned the gaming day.  The hall is large enough for six 6×10 tables, so that set the size of the day and necessarily limited the number of gamers.  There were 25 HAWKs there, three gamers from the Gettysburg / Frederick area, and five from New Jersey.  The HAWKs ran six games, and the gamers from New Jersey ran four.  Below are some pictures from the event.

    Sam Fuson ran his innovative GASLIGHT game using scrabble tiles to solve puzzles in order to accomplish their missions.

    I wasn’t sure I was going to have a chance to play something in the morning, but I had a chance to participate in Jamie Davis’ ever popular carpet race game that combines his excellent Future Race rules with Blood and Swash.

    Jamie and Chris Davis running Magic Carpet Racing

    The typical madcap kerfuffle ensues.

    More craziness.

    My magic carpet lost its magic, so I leapt onto a passing carpet to try to hijack it. My driver made it, but my number two man fell and died.

    Eric Schlegel ran Smeagol's Ferry (a fantasy take on his series of Schlegel's Ferry games) using modified Blood and Swash.

    John Mitchell ran an Eastern Front skirmish using Bolt Action.

    Don Manser ran a Pickett's Charge game using Fire and Fury.

    We had five gamers running in the morning with room for a sixth game if we had more gamers.  We broke for lunch and then ran five more games in the afternoon.

    Zeb Cook ran a 1939 Winter War game using Combat Patrol(TM): WWII


    The Russians advance.

    John Hollier ran a game of Shako II

    Cliff Brunken ran the battle of Germantown with 28mm figures using Black Powder.

    Don Hogge ran a game of Congo.

    Greg Priebe ran a fun Combat Patrol(TM) game using the recently released Star Wars supplement.  This involved clones versus droids.

    Greg hosting his game.

    This was a very successful event.  We ran ten games and played from 0900 to 1800.  Everyone had a good time.  We kept it a low-key, low-stress event, focusing on playing games.  We are already starting to talk about another such event in the future.

    Announcing the Star Wars supplement for Combat Patrol(TM)

    Posted By on October 5, 2017

    After many months of development, we are happy to announce the release of the FREE Star Wars supplement for Combat Patrol(TM): World War II.  This supplement was written by Greg Priebe, a long-time Star Wars fan.  With this supplement, you can “recreate” your favorite skirmishes from the movies, television series, and comics.

    This supplement uses the streamlined and intuitive mechanics of Combat Patrol(TM): World War II.  Cards are used, not just to control activation, but to resolve combat, conduct movement, check morale, etc.  There are not charts and tables to slow down the game.  You will find instructional videos and other free downloads on the rules’ web page.

    This supplement, like almost all of the other supplements for Combat Patrol(TM): WWII, is FREE.   You do need to own the basic rules and cards to play the game.  The supplement is 26 pages of background, weapons stats, vehicle stats, rules for Jedi powers, and other material.  This is a free download from either the rules’ Web page or the Sally 4th Combat Patrol page.

    To help you get started right away, we have provided a play through video demonstration of a Combat Patrol(TM) game using this supplement.  It is based on season 1, episode 1 of The Clone Wars in which Yoda and a handful of clones defeat a much larger droid force.  You will find a link to this video on the Combat Patrol Web page.   We think you will find this video — combined with all the other instructional videos on the Web page — is a good way to see the ease of play and intuitive mechanics of Combat Patrol(TM).

    We have also pre-made the unit cards you will need for a platoon of clones, droids, rebels, and stormtroopers — including a small number of vehicles.  These, too are available for free download.  Just print them out and start playing.

    If you have a box full of the old Star Wars collectable miniatures, or you are looking to play bigger battles than are possible with Imperial Assault, the Star Wars supplement for Combat Patrol(TM): WWII will allow you to do so.  We have used the rules (and this supplement) for games with as few as two players and as many as 10.

    This is a fan publication, and it is free.  We are not attempting to infringe on any IP from Lucas Films or Disney.

    A scene from the Star Wars supplement play through video

    Don’t forget to check out the play through video that is on the Web page.  You can also go directly to it at YouTube.

    As a reminder, this is a supplement for Combat Patrol(TM): WWII.  You need the rules and cards to play the game.  There are a number of purchase options available.  You can order the sets of cards from DriveThru.  You can order starter sets from Sally 4th or On Military Matters.  Sally 4th sells individual Action Decks if you want to buy just one to try out the mechanics yourself.  Directions and links are on the rules Web page.

    We hope you enjoy the supplement and enjoy the rules.  May the Force be with you, young Jedi.

    Beyond Star WarsCombat Patrol(TM): WWII is also a very good set of rules for WWII skirmishes.  On the Web page you will see many other supplements that extend the basic mechanics for other historical periods.

    I Created a Video Play Through of Combat Patrol

    Posted By on October 2, 2017

    I created a video play through of a Combat Patrol(TM): WWII game using the soon-to-be-released Star Wars supplement.  Thanks for Greg and Chris for helping out.


    I have not made any public announcements about the video, yet.  I will hit all the on-line fora with this when we are ready to announce the availability of the supplement, which should be not later than Friday.

    For all three of you who read this blog, enjoy the sneak preview.

    Pre-printed Vehicle Cards for Combat Patrol(TM): WWII

    Posted By on September 27, 2017

    The title cards from soon-to-be-released sets of vehicle cards for Combat Patrol(TM): WWII

    For many months, Sally 4th has been selling sets of cards for many of the platoons whose orders of battle are posted for free on the Combat Patrol(TM) rules Web site (http://www.bucksurdu.com/Buck_Surdu/Combat_Patrol.html).  These include U.S. Armored Infantry and German Panzergrenadiers.  These are professionally printed cards with all the information already filled out and ready to play.  While not strictly necessary, I find them extremely helpful in setting up scenarios.  Deal out the cards, point the players at the figures, and start playing.

    With help from Zeb Cook and Don Hogge, I have been working with Chris Abbey at Sally 4th to create sets of vehicle cards for all the vehicles listed in the rulebook.  (The rulebook does not include every vehicle and variant, but most of the common ones.)  The first five sets go to the printer in the next couple of days.  These include a German set, a US set, a British set, a Japanese set, and a Russian set.  From the center card in the above image, you can see all the sets planned.  The first five will be available soon from Sally 4th.

    You can get some for FREE!!  In addition, if you post a battle report to an on-line forum, such as The Miniatures Page, The Wargames Website, or Lead Adventure Forum, or if you publish a battle report in magazines like Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy, Miniature Wargames, or Wargames Illustrated, we will send you five cards from one of these sets for free.  You just need to send us the URL to your battle report and your mailing address.  Battle reports should be approximately 500 words and include at least two pictures.

    More ducks?!

    Posted By on September 25, 2017

    Ducks from my recently purchased Archive miniatures "Kwak Pack" from Ebay -- plus a captive

    I recently purchased this package of ducks form Archive miniatures on Ebay.  Yesterday I had a chance to paint the.

    A barbarian duck

    A girl barbarian duck


    This is the second one of these devil ducks that I have. The other is painted in traditional red outfit.

    Aladdin the duck

    A monk or falconer, I guess

    A berserker giant duck

    Captive of the ducks and waiting to be plucked. This figure is actually from Pulp Figures, but I finished her this weekend too, so I gave the ducks a captive. She really doesn't look happy!

    Barrage 2017 Moved to January 2018

    Posted By on September 24, 2017

    As the original date for Barrage 2017 approaches, I wanted to remind everyone that, due to a scheduling conflict with our venue, that Barrage 2017 will be held 19-20 January 2018.  This will still be referred to as “Barrage 2017.”  Knowing that weather in January can be somewhat unpredictable, we have scheduled the following weekend, 26-27 January, as show days.  Mark your calendars for a great two days of gaming.

    The dates for Barrage 2018 are set for 28-29 September 2018.  Mark your calendars for this event as well.

    Sunday play tests for Fall In and other stuff

    Posted By on September 20, 2017

    Impudent Mortal "rust bunker" painted up for Star Wars Combat Patrol(TM) games

    This weekend I had a chance to do some gaming and also do a little painting.  Greg found something called the “rust bunker” in MDF from a company, called Impudent Mortal.  Instead of painting it in post-apocalypse rusted metal, I painted it in gray to be a bunker in some Star Wars games.

    Greg turned me onto this company.  They are Eastern European.  They seem to make mostly 1:48 scale airplanes, but they have a handful of 1:48 scale German vehicles.  I picked up two of these SdKfz 222′s.  They are pretty simple kits, but the plastic is a little brittle.  I broke some of the parts just snipping them off the sprues.  The decals seemed old, and they tore easily.  The final outcome was pretty good, however.

    ICM Sd.Kfz. 222s

    We also got together to plan this year’s HAWKs Armies for Kids project and to run two play tests for HAWKs games at Fall In!  The first game was Chris’ Dr. Who game involving 18th century pirates and cyber men.

    Early in the Dr. Who GASLIGHT game

    Another view of the early stages of the battle

    The mission of the pirates and cybermen was to kidnap townsfolk to turn them into more cybermen.  Meanwhile the Doctor was running around town looking for the stuff he needed to invent a weapon to defeat the cybermen.

    Pirates and cybermen duke it out with townsfolk

    The garrison troops mix it up with cybermen

    After the Dr. Who GASLIGHT game, we cleaned up the troops, reset the town, and prepared for Dave’s WWII Combat Patrol(TM) game involving American paratroopers fighting Germans.  I was playing in this game, and I forgot to take pictures.  Rob (on the left in the above picture) had a squad of Americans that quickly got the upper hand against my team of Germans defending the wall.  I never quite recovered, and was eventually wiped out.  In the meantime, the rest of the Germans moved toward the buildings we were supposed to stop the Americans from capturing.  We did pretty well, but in the end, the game was judged a U.S. victory.

    After most of the folks left, Dave and I spent an hour or so working on spotting rules for Look, Sarge, No Charts: Science Fiction.  We made good progress on the spotting rules — enough that we are ready to put troops on the table soon for a play test.

    Tanks for the memories…

    Posted By on September 13, 2017

    Blitzkrieg Miniatures 1:48 scale Pz. Kfw. III

    I have been working on a stack of kits that were sitting on my war room floor.  These included some Bandai plastic kits and some Blitzkrieg Miniatures resin kits.  This is part of my campaign to be able to walk into the war room.

    All of these kits will find themselves in a Combat Patrol(TM): WWII game soon.

    Blitzkrieg Miniatures Stu.III and a Bandai 232

    Much of my WWII ETO gaming is early war — Finland, Poland, and France.  I painted these in the early war paint scheme.  I’ll add some hand painted crosses to these this evening or tomorrow evening.

    Bandai Hetzer and Pz.IV H

    These late war tanks will get their crosses this evening as well.  This gave me a chance to get out my new airbrush and do the camouflage.  I have found the results are very dependent on the viscosity of the paint.  The Vallejo Model Air paints go through the brush like a dream, but I could NOT get the cheap craft paint to flow.  The Pz. IV skies are probably too fragile for gaming.  We’ll see.  I also plant to apply some foliage clusters to the front of the Hetzer for some visual interest.

    Bandai Matilda II tanks

    These were really fun kits to assemble.  I don’t game the desert campaign.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to use these.  On a recent trip to the Bovington tank museum, I bought a little book that showed this paint scheme for the Matildas in France in 1940.  I painted them in those colors for that campaign and also for some hypothetical Sea Lion games.

    Bandai AT-ST "Chicken Walker"

    I also assembled this for the upcoming Star Wars supplement to Combat Patrol(TM).  This was a fun kit.  I may get another one.  I generally like to employ vehicles in pairs.

    Combat Patrol(TM) Star Wars game on Friday

    Posted By on September 11, 2017

    Droids lining up for battle

    Last Friday night we played another Combat Patrol(TM) game to test the soon-to-be-released Star Wars supplement.  This scenario involved droids versus clones.  I had recently gotten my hands on a couple of droid and clone tanks, so this gave us a chance to try — and correct — vehicle stats for the supplement.  This was our first test with a LOT of vehicles on the table.

    Clones lining up for battle

    You can see that we make heavy use of the old Star Wars collectable miniatures games figures — and anything else we can get our hands on that is within scale..  The droid AAT tanks are from Revel.  The clone tanks are a Transformers toy that is in the right scale for 25mm figures.

    Another view of the clone initial deployment

    We played one of Greg’s stock scenarios.  A ship has crashed, and both sides must recover the droid that has important information.

    Droids advance. Roger! Roger!

    The clones rushed forward with a speeder bike scout unit, reaching the area well ahead of anyone else.  The damage important droid (the objective)  moved randomly, and unfortunately he moved away from the speeder bike unit.

    Clones on speeder bikes rush forward

    A view of the droid advance. You can see cotton on the far AAT where the clone tank hit it and "brewed it up."

    Send in the clones! The advance through the woods.

    There was a large melee between droids and clones on the clone left flank.  The droids got the better of the fight, eliminating a squad of clones, but the clones sent more forces forward to turn the tide.

    A view from behind the droids. In the distance you can see Yoda has grabbed the droid with the important information.

    The droid with the important information wandered aimlessly, moving away from the clones on the speeder bikes, but right to Yoda.  Yoda gave the droid a force push into the arms of another clone squad.  At this point, while the combat casualties were about even, the clones had the upper hand in the scenario, because they had possession of the droid.

    We uncovered some items we needed to fix regarding the Star Wars vehicles.  I think that the supplement has really come along well.  Combat Patrol(TM) with Greg’s modifications gives a pretty good representation of Star Wars-era combat.